BALLYWALTRIM FC………… 1 SHAMROCK CELTIC……7
By PAUL DOWLING
Goal-machine Aidan Small fired Shamrock Celtic back into Division 3 promotion contention as they did a League double over Ballywaltrim.
The Green and White’s had won the reverse fixture by a 10-2 score-line at Finn Park, Kilcoole last October.
Small claimed a treble that day. And repeated that feat at the Ballywaltrim Recreational Park in Bray on Sunday morning.
The result leaves Shamrock just four points off top-spot with eight games remaining.
With Conary United in Charlie Bishop Cup action, ‘Celtic are now up to joint third alongside the Avoca outfit. They have been joined by Roundwood AFC who defeated leaders Dearg Celtic 3-2 at the Vartry Grounds.
Arklow Town are the new pacesetters after leaving the Back Alley with a 2-0 away success over Carnew AFC.
Shamrock went ahead with just nine minutes gone. Small was upended in the box by custodian Dylan Kelly. And picked himself up to score the penalty.
He added to that tally in the 17th minute. Gathering Daryl Murphy’s hanging cross-field pass, the attacker drilled in low from 20-yards.
Having given two-walk-overs of late, the Bray team mustered a near full panel.
They pulled one back in the 39th minute. Adam Kinsella’s centre from the right deflected kindly for Shane Byrne who smashed past Michael Hodgkinson form ten-yards.
But the visitors replied the stroke of half time. Murphy played a one-two with Aidan O’Neill down the left channel. And crossed low from the end-line for Greg Murray to convert close in.
The second period with just two minutes old when Philip Gill released Small. His shot from the right of the penalty area struck the post. But Murray followed up to tap-in.
Small completed his treble in the 72nd minute. O’Neill’s through pass was mis-cued by a Ballywaltrim player with the striker making no mistake in a one-on-one with Kelly.
Substitute (and Bray native) Scott Meaney notched the sixth in style in the 78th minute. He won two tackles before superbly lobbing the keeper with a 40-yard half volley.
With four minutes remaining, sub Tamas Schaffer cut-out Kelly’s clearance with Murray holding off an opponent to crack in a half volley from 20-yards to complete his hat-trick.
BALLYWALTRIM FC: Dylan Kelly; Ciarin Gormley, Neil Melia, Jonathan Percy, Shane Dunne; Adam Kinsella, Mikey Weafer, Derek Scanlon, Ross O’Brien; Shane Byrne, Karl O’Brien. SUBS: Mark Flanagan (for Gormley half time), Tony Kiernan (for Percy 57 mins), Emmet Costello (for Karl O’Brien 66 mins), Dion McGovern (for Byrne), Eamonn Cleary (for Dunne) (both 73 mins), Ken Curran (not used).
SHAMROCK CELTIC: Michael Hodgkinson; Philip Gill, Gary Doyle, Colin Cassidy, Greg Doyle; Daryl Murphy, Kevin Murray, Alan Coady, Kevin Coady; Aidan Small, Aidan O’Neill. SUBS: Bob Quinn (for Murphy 58 mins), Scott Meaney (for Greg Doyle), Ingvard Rix Hanssen (for Alan Coady) (both 68 mins), Tamas Schaffer (for Small 75 mins), Glen McCarthy (not used).
REFEREE: Dominic Lachaussee.